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Space testing of electromagnetically sensitive materials for breakthrough propulsion physics

Authors:
  • Institute for Advanced Studies at Austin

Abstract

Recently it has been experimentally demonstrated that non-local (instantaneous) communication between two beams of light (spin direction) can randomly occur. The effect is described as a consequence of the physics of quantum mechanics. Other research has experimentally demonstrated that the zero point radiation/fields (ZPF), which pervade space-time, can effectively be shielded so as to force two parallel plates together (Casimir effect). The NASA Marshall Space Flight Center is investigating the possibility that a spinning superconductor can cause a reduction in the weight of nearby objects. Recent ultrahigh-intensity, peta/eta-watt tabletop lasers have achieved extreme electric and magnetic fields, pressure, temperature and space-time curvature that can only be found close to a black hole horizon. Based on these research and experimental efforts, some examples of space experiment and materials/technology testing approaches have been examined to determine the feasibility and potential benefits of using the International Space Station (ISS) to address breakthrough propulsion physics and technology challenges. The ISS's microgravity environment, combined with the access to an extreme vacuum and plasma environment, offers some unique advantages for the testing of various electromagnetically "sensitive" materials, and associated physical interactions. The use of this space laboratory could enable much more rapid progress in the identification and optimization of anomalous and highly nonlinear effects. A modular Breakthrough Propulsion Physics testbed could be developed using one or two mid-deck locker equivalent volumes in a pressurized Express Rack, which would enable the operation or testing of various experiments and devices as part of a long duration, breakthrough physics and technology testing program. Similarly, an Express Pallet adapter site could be used as a breakthrough propulsion physics testbed for those experiments or technology demonstrations which require direct access to the space environment and larger operating volumes. Breakthrough propulsion physics experiments could also be integrated into (or use extra space in or on) micro-/nano- technology (MNT) experiments which are already under development. The International Space Station's research capabilities provide important opportunities for achieving early breakthroughs in physics understanding, and the associated materials/technology interactions, needed to accelerate advances in space vehicle/platform maneuvering and transport.
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